The 2017 Chicago Cubs Convention was one that will be remembered for the rest of my life. While the convention is enjoyable every year, this one was something special. For the first time in convention history, the Cubs were celebrating a championship.
Needless to say, there was very little said this year that was not all about the Cubs winning the World Series. This was the biggest love fest that I have ever witnessed, at the biggest Cubs love fest of the year. There was seldom a question, or statement at any of the seminars that did not start off with a thank you. Yes, I was one of them who thanked Tom Ricketts for bringing the fans a Championship… along with a little bit of shameless self promotion to go along with my praise of his ownership.
Walking into the lobby of the Sheraton, the very first thing we see is a massively over-sized replica of the newest member of the Cubs family, the World Series trophy. I know that the Cubs won the championship two months ago, but I am honestly still getting used to the reality that the Cubs really are the reigning and defending World Series champions. This life sized beauty was the first taste I would get this weekend of being close to the championship, but this would not be the last. Just like with just about every fan at the convention, I would get in a line, waiting for roughly an hour and a half to get my picture taken with the real championship trophy. While some may say that they would rather spend their time doing something else (perhaps attending another seminar, or getting a picture or autograph with a Cubs legend), I felt that my time at the convention would not be complete unless I was able to actually see the real thing in person. To me, that was the prize of the entire weekend.
As you can imagine, the line to see the trophy was insane. This was the “trophy room” line. Four rows of back and forth walking just to get up close and personal with the trophy.Some of you may agree with those who say the wait was not worth while, but I thought that this was truly the highlight of the convention.
The opening ceremony was unbelievable, you can watch most of what took place here. Unfortunately, “bad connection” cut off right as David Ross was coming out on stage. But that is okay, the Cubs and Major League Baseball took care of that, watch that here.
Then there was “Friday Night with Ryan Dempster” due to lack of battery life, I was unable to get the entire show for you, but I was able to share most of it for you. Watch that here. The show concluded with Ross rapping karaoke style.
The next day at the seminars, many of the questions were positive. Though, as you would expect there is always a few people who feel the need to pick out some negative things to throw at the panelists. Of course, that was negative was about Joe Maddon and his handling of Game 7. First was to Theo Epstein, the next to Maddon himself. To his credit, Epstein and Maddon welcomed the criticism.
Epstein responded by saying “I am a process guy more than and outcome guy. But when you win the World Series, I am an outcome guy”.
Maddon handled things with class as well saying “I love second guessing”.
Bottom line is, the Cubs won the World Series. I could fully understand the questions had the Cubs lost, but they freaking WON the World Series. Had the Cubs not won, I could understand. Had Maddon left Hendricks in and he had blown the game, I would understand. Second guessing is and always has been a part of baseball. But when you actually win the World Series, I think that you can leave Maddon alone for his decisions in Game 7.
Again… he and the Cubs won the World Series. I think you can leave you disapproval of how he handled Game 7 in the past, in the moment while watching things happen live. Let go and enjoy the Championship.
The convention as a whole (while the most exciting in all my years attending), might have been one of the most boring as well; if that makes sense. Due to their being the over whelming excitement about the trophy being in the house, and the Championship celebration, there was not nearly as much planned as in previous years. There were less seminars, and there was less information shared with us as there was in previous years. Granted, most everything has already been shared. The construction process was well underway, all of the prime prospects we had been waiting for had already been called up to the Majors, and the wait was finally over. There was nothing really new to talk about, so I can understand why there was less going on. At any given time, a hefty percentage was looking for World Series souvenirs, getting autographs from their World Series heroes or seeing the trophy. The Cubs likely felt they could get away from a lot of the loveydovey conferences and let the fans just enjoy the moment.
Which we all did!